Monthly Archives: August 2007

Got Dirt?

We're spending this weekend on Patio Project 2007 (twenty-oh-seven, remember?), and therefore we took delivery yesterday of two tandem-axle loads of soil.  Kids being kids, you see what happened next:

Here’s the Reason I’m Probably Unpopular in Class.

The other night I was sitting through my rather dry Law of Real Estate course.  We were going over some review questions when I suddenly got an opportunity to spice things up a bit.  The events unfolded something like this:

Question:  "Which of the following statements about carbon monoxide is false?

a.  It is easily detectable
b.  It is the result of incomplete combustion
c.  It is a natural result of combustion
d.  It is quickly absorbed by the body"

I raised my hand, and when the professor called upon me, I said, "I suppose the answer you're looking for is a, because it's not easily detected by, say, the naked eye."

Then some other girl raised her hand to argue, and that was where the fun began.

Other girl:  "No.  It's not a natural result of combustion."

Professor:  "um…"

Me:  "Oh yes, it is."

Girl:  "No, no it isn't, because it's caused by incomplete combustion."

Me:  "But it's still a natural result of combustion, regardless of whether it is incomplete.  It's not UNnatural.  It's not synthetic."

Professor:  (blank look)

Girl:  "No, it ISN'T a natural product."

Me:  "But it IS.  I'm confident of this.  I know this.  I'm quite familiar with this."

Maybe I was just in a bad mood, but I was determined to win this one.  And of course I did, prepared as I was to take her to the mat on this one.  I'm tenacious like a pit bull when I know I'm right.

And I was.  I didn't study internal combustion and chemistry and all that rot just so some broad in a real estate course could tell me that CO was not a natural result of combustion.  GOD.


That Girl.

Laurel came home yesterday with her spelling pre-test.  Some of the bonus words included on top of the regular words included the following:

Depart, diligently, hostile, morsel, predicament, regurgitate, sinew, and tribute. 

The only one Laurel misspelled was 'regurgitate,' and only because she left out the second 'g.'  I'm pretty sure she just skipped over it accidentally, because if she were sounding it out, she would have gotten it. 

These are AWESOME spelling words.  I mean, seriously, 'sinew?'  I'm quite certain most of the adult population would miss that one.

Laurel is in the right place.  This is the coolest school program ever, and she has integrated well into the class.  The teachers understand her, and she and the other kids understand each other.  We could not possibly ask for better.  She seems to have grown up a lot in the past week or two, and I'm sure it's because her academic needs are finally being met and she's finally around other kids on her level.  I mean, they all received laptops yesterday.  Laptops!  In 3rd grade!  I know!

Of course, she's still only 8, and therefore ran to me and yelled 'FART!' at a rather obnoxious volume last night — at the college bookstore.  Nice. 

However, knowing how I feel about the indiscriminate use of that word in public, she apologized to me as we were leaving.  I was so proud.

Her next big public-use word will probably be 'regurgitate.'


Laurel informed me on Friday that she wanted 'lots of little braids all over her head.'  I asked her about the origin of this request and she said she'd seen black girls wearing that style and she thought it was beautiful.  I told her we could certainly give it a shot, but that I wasn't sure how it would work because, well, she's white.  And white girls have different hair than black girls.

I called a friend of mine about this, who is black and to whom I feel comfortable talking to about this because she and I ACKNOWLEDGE there are differences between 'black folk' and 'white folk.'  We don't worry about political correctness and pretending we're all the same when we're not.  She and I brainstormed about how to accomplish this with white girl hair, and after sitting for 4 hours braiding (I don't usually do this, what with me being white and all) this was the result:

Laurel could not be more thrilled.  As for me, I'm all for it because I love someone who can be different and be bold about it.

That's my girl.

* My friend Jessica asked if we should call her Laurizzle, hence the title of this post.

What Not to Do.

Do not use clippers to trim your child's hair while having an earnest discussion with your husband about decisions to be made, lest you use a guard that's too short:


Survivor: First Day of School.

We made it.

I knew Laurel was nervous, because she told me yesterday morning she Googled "How to make friends" and was planning to take the advice she found to heart.  She had a great first day of school and even got to have a popsicle on the playground.

Sweet.  I wish they handed out popsicles on my first day of class. 

Anyway, she came home with homework assignments that are actually COOL instead of stupid worksheets.  For language arts she had to list 20 things she could write (she listed a 'Declaration of Independence' as one of those things — so I think she's considering secession).  She had to find a baby photo of herself for social studies, and bring in a small potted plant for science.  She was enthusiastic, and I have rarely seen her enthused about her old schoolwork.

Hands-on learning is the way to go.  You betcha.  I love it.  She was so excited to return for her second day of school that she was ready long before it was time to go.  We didn't have to remind her five times to get her snack or to pack her backpack.  Of course, things could change, but as it is I have to remind her to leave her car door closed until I come to a full stop.

I just hope we're able to maintain this level of excitement all year!

Here’s Why Other Parents Think We’re Nuts.

Over the weekend the unbelievable heat subsided, so we took those kids to the park.  I was all for it, because my back was still tender and I knew that Park = Turn the Kids Loose and Sit on the Bench. 

Greg and I are not overly cautious parents.  Our floor is a veritable food buffet for the kids.  They wrassle freely with the dog and we don't force them to soak their hands in alcohol afterward.  Antibacterial soap is only found at our kitchen and bathroom sinks.  Once a week or so I bleach the bathrooms, but that's about it.  We operate on the theory that moderate doses of germs, like anything, are good.  We're the same with risks.  We know our kids are going to fall and get bumped and bruised, and we're not the kind to rush in and coo to them when they do.

We are so badass.

Well, except when we think something is REALLY wrong.  The other night we were minding our own business when we heard a crash in the bathroom followed in short order by Laurel's ear-splitting wail.  While Laurel has been known to fall prey to histrionics in the past, this sounded serious.  We rushed in, but the door was locked.  Greg yelled for her to unlock it if she could, but received no response aside from the aforementioned wailing, so he unlocked the door himself and there she was, standing there crying at the top of her lungs, with the shower curtain rod lying next to her on the floor.  I don't think we have the full story even now, but it seems the disaster began with her standing on the ledge of the bath tub (we chose — wisely, I think — not to delve into the why of this).  She fell against the toilet on the way down, hitting her back.  If that weren't enough, the curtain rod had the audacity to fall atop her. 

I will also admit to watching Ethan's pupils a little more closely for a few hours after he took an especially nasty head-first fall from the arm of the sofa.

Anyway, my point is, we intervene when really necessary but are pretty lackadaisical over the everyday routine kid-related injuries.  Therefore, I imagine it is difficult for other parents at the park to explain why their son or daughter, clearly older than Ethan, is not allowed to do the following (mouse over for descriptions):

1. Climb the weird ladder;2. Climb the other weird ladder;3. Climb to the top of the twisty slide (look closely, he's there); and4. Slide down the twisty slide.

Other, less provocative scenes from the park:

Laurel, nearly parallel to the ground.ROCKET MAN!


In other news, today is the first day of school for Laurel and the first day back in class for me.  Laurel is more apprehensive than she will admit, I think. She says she's "just a little nervous, which is normal."  Sunday night we attended a picnic and Greg and I were hurt watching her sit by herself eating her dinner (the kids were grouped together and the parents were grouped together).  We didn't really intervene, because we want her to have the tools to handle these situations herself.  Still, it's hard to be thrust into a completely new situation — we completely empathize — and that's exactly what she will have today.  She's in a new program in a new school in a new district.  While PEGS has held meets-and-greets and the like, I know it will be tough on Laurel to walk down an unfamiliar hall the first day of school, trying to find her way.  I know she will be thinking of and missing the friends and familiarity she's leaving behind at Fox, but I think she understands a whole new world of opportunities has just opened for her.

I am probably saying this for me as much as for her, but I trust she can handle it. 

She'll do just fine.

And Now, the Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For….

(does anybody else think of Rocky and Bullwinkle when they hear that?  I sure do).

After years of crying, whining, bitching, moaning, and standing in the street bawling and screaming at the top of her lungs…

After years of cajoling, pleading, begging, and bargaining followed by demands, threats, and withholding of privileges…

We are proud to announce the crowning achievement of our parenting thus far.  BEHOLD:


That girl is ON A BICYCLE.  And she's RIDING it.  And she's not crying, whining, bitching, moaning, OR standing in the street bawling and screaming at the top of her lungs.

Nor are we — for which the neighbors are truly grateful.

I owe this success to Laurel's obsession with Harry Potter.  Last week she asked us for the new Harry Potter video game.  We offered to let her take money from her savings for it or to use some of her birthday money, but oh no!  She's not going to do that because she is entirely too tight cheap frugal for that.  Then it hit me — Bargaining for Biking!

We'd tried it before, but Laurel never wanted anything badly enough.  This time, though, this time I KNEW I had her over a barrel — and I did.  I told her if she learned to ride that damn bike before school started, I would go BUY THAT DAMN VIDEO GAME for her and she wouldn't have to spend a penny of her own money for it.

Looks like I owe her one Harry Potter video game.  Now.  If we can just get her to ride the bike that we just bought her instead of her Kindergarten-y bike, we'll be in business.


In other news, I caught this photo this morning: